Friday, June 10, 2011

10 June 1976 - The Behavior Was Bad, But Those Kits Were Worse

On 10 June 1976, UEFA banned Wales from participating in the European Championships because of crowd violence during a qualifier against Yugoslavia at Ninian Park. Initially intended to last until 1982, the ban was softened later that year.

Wales and Yugoslavia had met at Ninian Park on 22 May to play the second leg of their qualification match for that year's European Championship, with a spot in the tournament semifinals at stake. Yugoslavia had won the first leg 2-0, so the pressure was on Wales to overturn the deficit. Unfortunately for the hosts, referee Rudi Glöckner awarded a penalty to Yugoslavia in the 19th minute (replays suggested that the Yugoslavian player had dived). Josip Katalinksi duly converted the spot-kick, giving Wales an even greater mountain to climb.

A ray of hope arrived in the form of Welsh defender Ian Evans, who found a 38th-minute equalizer. Then, shortly after the break, John Toshack put the ball in the net with an acrobatic overhead kick. Glöckner, however, ruled that Toshack's play was dangerous and disallowed the goal, sending the 30,000 home supporters into a frenzy. They threw beer bottles at the referee and several fans tried to scale the fencing surrounding the pitch.

The situation grew worse for Wales. Glöckner disallowed another Toshack goal as offside, then Terry Yorath missed a penalty kick. The match ended 1-1, sending Yugoslavia through with an aggregate score of 3-1. At the final whistle, Glöckner needed an escort of 16 policemen to get off the pitch, while one spectator hurled a corner flag that stabbed an officer in the neck.

Four months after issuing the ban, UEFA lifted it to allow Wales' participation in the 1980 European Championship, but directed that no matches could be played at Ninian Park.


  1. Also June 10th, ten years ago, Copenhagen beat Brøndby and won the Danish Championship. But what everyone remembers is the utter brillance of South African striker Zuma's goal that settled the match.

  2. Beautiful goal, thanks for sharing. I think I need to write more posts about Danish football.